Frack you, Valdimir

As our President works to counter the aggression of Vladimir Putin, I am glad that his options are greatly enhanced since we have cut much of the ground out from under the old despot. Since 2008, fracking has made the U.S. the leading producer of energy. We pulled out Vladamir’s teeth. Think of the leverage he would have if the natural gas situation of the 2000 had continued and developed.

We think of fracking in economic or energy terms, but it is the geopolitical consequences of fracking that are most astonishing. It is why we can throttle the Russians if need be and why we don't have to worry that the Iranians will hold their energy off the market.

It really is the biggest thing since the fall of the Berlin wall and will help rein in despots and tyrants for the next generation, as well as stimulate a manufacturing renaissance in the American heartland.

Vladimir is an KGB hand. He believes that the fall of the Soviet Union was a bad thing and that is all you really need to know about him. It does not mean that we cannot deal with him. We were able to deal with the Soviets.But remember the lesson of working with them. They respect power and nothing else. When they think they have it, they act aggressively and dangerously. When they feel circumscribed they behave rationally and cooperatively. Until only a few years ago, they possessed the massive cannon of energy. Fracking turned that into a pea shooter.

Russia depends on export of natural resources. They really have not much else. When currency declines in an industrial country, it can help their position by making exports cheaper. In a resource producer, it can only work against them. Their commodities are cheaper and all that happens is that the world gets a better deal.

I have confidence that President Obama will play this right. It is well suited to his deliberative style. He needs to keep calm but keep on the pressure. It is a smaller version of what Reagan did in the middle 1980s. Keep calm and cut the resource out from under our adversary. Fracking makes this strategy possible today.

Posted by Christine & John at March 4, 2014 7:55 AM
Comments
Comment #377075

Dunno C&J. A lot depends on how the Corpocracy lines up. BP is big in Russia. The EU depends on gas exports from Russia. Big banks are luving the Russian oligarchs for their big bank accounts, especially UK.

The Corpocracy may well cut Obama’s main plan to deal with the situation. Fer shure, it won’t happen anytime soon. Maybe over a year or two.

A dangerous price we pay for a gov’t run by Corpocracy.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at March 4, 2014 3:32 PM
Comment #377078

Roy

I am part of the Corpocracy. I wish we had had that kind of power.

One of my good friends ran BP in Russia. He is less enthusiastic about Russia after they killed a few of his guys.

The decision making process in the world is as decentralized and chaotic as it looks. I would like to think there was a better plan, or order, but there is not. It is not like a chess game. It is more like a game of poker, where new cards can be thrown in and old ones out. It is not completely random, but certainly not set.

Posted by: CJ at March 4, 2014 5:12 PM
Comment #377079

Yes, this is what we have evolved to over a coupla hundred years. The people might have little to nothing to say about a ‘plan’ while big biz writes the plan; ‘now you can go down this road but don’t touch the bldg on the right’, etc.

Posted by: roy ellis at March 4, 2014 5:41 PM
Comment #377080

Roy

You overestimate the intelligence of the “corpocracy” and vastly overestimate their discipline. I am not saying that lots of business would not like something like you are describing, but they cannot pull it off.

The closest thing we ever saw to this kind of thing was when JP Morgan saved the U.S. economy in 1907. And that worked only due to dire necessity.

Posted by: CJ at March 4, 2014 5:53 PM
Comment #377081
But remember the lesson of working with them. They respect power and nothing else. When they think they have it, they act aggressively and dangerously. When they feel circumscribed they behave rationally and cooperatively.

This is simply wrong. Look at what just happened, the revolution in Ukraine means it has left the Russian sphere of influence. Putin invaded Crimea because he felt weak, not because he felt strong. Putin has overplayed his hand here. I will wager that he is too much of a coward to become involved with the rest of Ukraine where Russians are a minority.

Even if he cannot be extricated from Crimea, he will have lost the rest of Ukraine and the peninsula will simply be a poor consolation prize. I wonder how long it will be until Ukraine joins NATO? Another US ally on Russia’s border will certainly send shivers down Putin’s spine.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 4, 2014 6:56 PM
Comment #377082

Warren

He thinks he can get away with it. That he has the power to do it. Doesn’t mean he has complete power.

One of the services I did for our country was the small part I played in getting Poland into NATO. There was lots of gnashing of teeth, people saying that it was a provocation to Russia, that it wasn’t needed etc. Fortunately, President Clinton showed the necessary courage and foresight to stay the course. I was on the square in Warsaw when he announced it. Our argument then, besides that our good friends the Poles deserved it, was that putting Poland in NATO, far from provoking the Russians, would take Poland off the table. Confronted with the fait accompli, the Russians would just back down and give up. They did. They were in a weaker position and they knew it. We showed them that we knew it too and we knew that they knew that we knew. Never again did the Russian seriously bother Poland, the Czech Republic or Romania. We won. They lost, even if we did not rub it in.

This is how you deal with these guys. They can be very cooperative and even pleasant, when they understand the limits. They are not provoked by strength, but by weakness.

Our leaders have erred when they believed otherwise. The most famous case is FDR and Stalin. Reagan did better. Trust but verify. That is why there are streets named for Reagan in E. Europe, but you will not find an Ulice FDR.

As I wrote above, Putin is weaken by our energy success, but he still has cards to play and he won’t give up anything if he doesn’t have to.

Posted by: CJ at March 4, 2014 7:44 PM
Comment #377083

Warren

RE Ukraine in NATO - Ukraine is not the same as Poland. It is not stable. The east is really Russian. Sometimes our reach can exceed our grasp.

Posted by: CJ at March 4, 2014 7:47 PM
Comment #377084

I think the community was leary of putting NATO in the satellites, same for the missiles in Poland. As it is, if Putin takes over a satellite we aren’t required to defend them. Seriously doubt anything changes there.

Ukraine had best hope that Putin’s interest is just Crimea and leaves it at that. I just don’t see the moneyed interest helping them out much. Just a lot of talk and hand wringing, IMO.

Posted by: roy ellis at March 4, 2014 7:50 PM
Comment #377085

Might be better for all involved for eastern Ukraine to go with Russian and the west to go with the West. Eastern Ukraine is backward and rusty. The West is more like Poland. Besides, the east is already mostly Russian.

Posted by: CJ at March 4, 2014 8:12 PM
Comment #377086
RE Ukraine in NATO - Ukraine is not the same as Poland. It is not stable. The east is really Russian. Sometimes our reach can exceed our grasp.

And the West is really Ukrainian. Regardless, nothing unites disparate groups better than a fight against a common enemy.

Regarding the 1990s: Yeltsin is no Putin. Putin is demonstrably insecure, whereas Yeltsin was confident in Russia’s ability to prosper without hegemony.

That is why there are streets named for Reagan in E. Europe, but you will not find an Ulice FDR
Monuments and accolades are a poor way to evaluate history. Posted by: Warren Porter at March 4, 2014 8:30 PM
Comment #377087

Warren

Yeltsin was a drunk and there was a some chance that Russia itself would fly apart. Russia was in a weaker position in the 1990s. Putin is cold, but he brought Russia back into order, even if it is an order no lover of freedom can love.

Re Ukraine - the east is Russian. They are unlikely to rally to a Ukrainian cause. Those borders are artificial. They don’t really correspond neatly to nationalities or loyalties.

Much as we hate Putin’s power grab, he could make a serious case about national self determination. If Ukrainians have the right to live in a Ukrainian nation, why not Russians?

The nationalities overlap, however, and there are lots of mixed marriages.

My Ukrainian friends hate it, but I think they would be a lot better off with the more civilized Poles. Poland ruled most of what is Ukraine longer than Russia did.

Some of the old organizations made some sense, even if people didn’t like them. The Hapsburg Empire, for example, made a lot of economic sense, as did the Polish Rzeczpospolita. Nationalism makes sense sometimes, but at others … not so much.

As Sir Charles Napier said, “So perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.”

Posted by: CJ at March 4, 2014 8:49 PM
Comment #377090

Tribalism seems to be the strongest glue to hold people together as a nation. If we could just take all the Sunni’s and put them in one country and Shite in another and so on - -

The only way they can get along is if there is enough oil resources to make everybody well.

I am really glad to see the oligarchs booted in Ukraine. But, I’ve not doubt the same ole faces will show up in the next gov’t. A good quarter of them will receive KGB monthly stipends and so on - -

Posted by: roy ellis at March 4, 2014 10:43 PM
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